‘I’m seeing two sides to the pandemic and how it will shape our future’

Jul 27, 2021
Julie's noticing people who have symptoms of Covid-19 are being told to wait in line (sometimes for hours) to get tested, only to be told to go home because there aren't enough tests available. Source: Getty Images

Recently, I travelled to a nearby shopping centre to do necessary banking and collection of scripts. I was masked in the approved lockdown manner. I was a face in the dwindling crowd, minding my own business.

While waiting in social distancing for the bank to open, two strangers in the crowd started chatting to me. I must be a good listener, so I heard their tales. Yes, another lockdown to continue. Both ladies blamed the premier, same old blame game. There we stood, all mature women, all hoping for a post-pandemic future to appear.

I came home to read an online contact, an email from a yummy mummy. It is home schooling for her, while working at home, managing the household. It is all getting slightly jaded. First lockdown, it was a jigsaw puzzle for the offspring, a mini-chef recipe session, a Disney movie to view while sitting on the couch, eating snacks.

Second lockdown, a second jigsaw puzzle, another recipe to cook, a rerun of the singalong movies. Now it is fifth lockdown, yet another, larger, jigsaw puzzle, yet another pizza recipe to cook, even more Disney movies, more snacks, more couch time. And so it might proceed. A hundredth lockdown … It is indoor weather here in winter.

Every day, we are all growing a little bit older, a bit greyer, a bit fatter or thinner. Really, there are two faces to lockdown, and all our leisure. It is a pandemic world, with a virus threatening the entire planet. I feel for the people who cannot afford to turn on their heater.

I think about the lockdown unemployed, struggling to feed themselves or their families. They are depending on the kindness of our society, to support them with food donations, or restaurants cooking meals for charities.

Home schooling is now routine, whether parents with digital technology wish they could send their kids to school or not. The children are the real champions in lockdown learning. They have all this social isolation imposed on them by adults, and some do not understand.

I read of whole schools in lockdown, due to the two-faced society, which has not vaccinated schoolchildren or their educators in our Australian school system. After all, they are our future. Now is the time.

Citizens with symptoms of this virus are being advised to line up for hours to get a test. Then, after some hours, the coronavirus testing staff tell these people to go home and isolate, untested. “Go home and go to bed!” Sounds like a good idea. If they survive the night, symptoms or not, they might get a tested tomorrow, or not.

For this hitch in the testing program, we can blame the two-faced government for not hiring more staff and not funding any overtime. But, no, the employer must protect their employees. That is the virus theory. That is why, comfortingly, the AFL and NRL are continuing to play unsanitised contact sports, flying players around the nation. All germs notwithstanding.

Every state is playing the blame game. I hear Queensland Premier travelled to the Tokyo Olympics. We must get our priorities right. That is one aspect of the two-faced nature of Australian society today. That is definitely a privilege, to be at the Olympics.

In a 100 years, none of this will matter. Maybe there shall be a post-pandemic world one day. Every Australian will wake up, there shall be a great announcement from a politician in the media. Imagine this: “Hey, guys and gals, we are Covid-19 free. We won! Try saying thank you. We protected you!”

But no, the ever two-faced fickle electorate will finally have an election, blame the politicians, and vote for someone else. The premiers will all be unemployed. One day, the survivors will look back and smile fondly at the whole scenario. Until the next pandemic.

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